Project Management

Wal-Mart: Smartsourcing’s Trendsetter

Bob Weinstein is a journalist who covers technology, project management, the workplace and career development.

Many companies have kept costs down and revenue up, and have defined themselves by supply-chain initiatives that allowed constant innovation. They were smartsourcing before the term became popular. A few companies that come to mind are Nike, Dell, Inc., and Home Depot. But it’s hard to top Wal-Mart, the company that put itself on the map by understanding smartsourcing’s impact and by doing it consistently and better than anyone else.
Smartsourcing can get complicated. But essentially, its success lies in strategic business decisions, skilled project management and advanced supply-chain technologies.
The company, founded by Sam Walton in 1962, has made few blunders, but none serious enough to slow its consistent growth. During the rip-roaring dotcom days, when brick-and-mortar companies squandered fortunes trying to transition to the Internet, Wal-Mart also suffered some setbacks. In the spring of 2001, its market capitalization was $230 billion, slipping from nearly $300 billion in early 2000.
While it took a few years to strengthen its online presence, and most importantly create a dynamic Web site, initial Internet losses are piddling setbacks in the history of this efficiently run retail giant, which has managed to set global retailing standards since it opened its doors. Wal-Mart is untouchable because it was, still is, and is likely to …

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